Wheelchair assistance and mobility services
Other mobility services
If you have limited mobility, whether you need a wheelchair or not, we have additional services available to you. Before your flight, a flight attendant will ask if you’d like a safety demonstration. They’ll also talk to you about any needs you may have.
We will not assist you in the bathroom, with medication, or feed you.
If you can’t leave the plane on your own during an emergency we recommend you travel with a friend, family member or caregiver who is able to help.
Many of our planes have movable armrests to allow you to easily transfer from an aisle wheelchair to your seat. Where these armrests are depends upon the type of plane you're on. If your seat doesn't have a movable aisle armrest, speak with a gate agent or a flight attendant and they will see if a more accessible seat is available.
Additionally, some domestic and international airports may use stairs for boarding and exiting the plane rather than bridges. At these airports there are alternative options available, including lifts and stair chairs.
It’s free to check up to two wheelchairs, scooters or mobility devices, including sports wheelchairs and personal medical equipment, in addition to your checked bags. We recommend any mobility device not needed for assistance to your gate be checked in the airport lobby.
Bag charges do apply for checking additional wheelchairs or mobility devices.
If your wheelchair is under 250 pounds it can be stored in cargo on most planes. However, if your chair weighs more than this we might not be able to fly it depending on the type and size of plane you’re on. We reserve the right to deny boarding to your wheelchair if its weight presents operational or safety concerns.
We have wheelchair assistance centers at certain airports. You can also ask any United agent at the ticket counter for assistance.
Airport Wheelchair assistance location Chicago O'Hare Terminal 1, door 1G Denver Terminal West, level 6, between doors 606-608 Houston Intercontinental Terminal C, level 2, near Gate B77* Los Angeles Terminal 7, between doors L2-10 New York/Newark Terminal A, departure level, door 6
Terminal C, level 2, door 4
San Francisco Terminal 3, door 11 Washington Dulles Main Terminal, door 4B
*The wheelchair assistance location at Houston Intercontinental is after the security checkpoint. You can also get assistance with your wheelchair in the lobby by speaking to an agent at the ticket counter.
You can wait until you get to the gate to check your wheelchair. Your chair can also be returned to you at the gate after you land instead of at baggage claim. Just let a gate agent know before boarding.
If you have a connecting flight and would like to use your personal wheelchair during your layover, let us know before boarding your first flight of the day. And be sure to allow enough time to re-check your wheelchair at the gate for your next flight.
All planes have dedicated space to store at least one adult-sized wheelchair in-cabin when folded or collapsed. If your wheelchair doesn't fit properly, it will be stowed in the cargo area.
Your wheelchair can be checked at the ticket counter or gate as cargo as well. We request all travelers attach instructions to checked wheelchairs so ground personnel handles your equipment properly. Detachable pieces, like seat cushions, sideguards and footrests, can be brought on the plane as carry-on or stowed with the chair in cargo.
Electric wheelchairs must be checked at the ticket counter or gate and transported as cargo. We request all travelers attach instructions to checked wheelchairs so ground personnel handles your equipment properly. These instructions should include information about the type of battery your wheelchair uses and will affect how your chair is transported.
Battery type Instructions Wet-cell batteries If your wheelchair cannot fit upright through the cargo door, we must remove the battery and transport it in a special battery box to meet federal dangerous goods handling requirements. If the battery is damaged or leaking, it cannot be transported. Dry- or gel-cell batteries If your wheelchair cannot fit upright through the cargo door, it will be loaded on its side with the battery attached, and then placed upright once inside the cargo hold. We’ll need confirmation the wheelchair cannot be accidentally turned on before loading or the battery cables will need to be disconnected. Lithium-ion batteries If the battery is in a protective casing, then the chair will be loaded upright or on its side, and then placed upright once inside the cargo hold with the battery attached. If this isn’t the case, the battery must be removed and stored in your carry-on. You must also let a flight attendant know you’ve brought the battery on board.
If you aren't sure what type of battery your wheelchair uses, we recommend checking the battery itself as they are required by law to be labeled clearly. Most wheelchairs utilize a gel-cell battery.
If your wheelchair is lost or damaged, you must provide the following information to our Assistive Device Desk at 1-866-261-2395 or firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Proof the item was lost, such as a baggage incident report number
- Your itinerary
- Bag tag
- Proof of purchase or ownership of the wheelchair
- The model and serial number for your wheelchair
- The type of wheelchair
All wheelchairs will be inspected, and pre-existing damage documented, when checked in. If we're able, we'll make repairs to damaged wheelchairs or assistive devices so we can return it to you in the same condition it was in when you checked it.
Submitting a claim
All claims for the destruction, loss, damage or delay of a wheelchair or other assistive device are subject to any limitation or defense recognized by a court with proper jurisdiction over the claim. Carrier baggage liability limits don't apply to claims for lost, damaged or delayed wheelchairs or other assistive devices on flights within the United States, and on flights to and from Canada. The notice and claim requirements, however, do apply.